Aging – New Realities
New reality of aging – “older adults will outnumber children for the first time in history.” This statement appeared in a recent article in the American Association for Retired People newsletter, Where We Stand: New Realities of Aging by A. Barry Rand, CEO. In the past, especially in the baby boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, the number of babies and children outnumbered the number of aging adults. However, that phenomenon has changed. In addition, there has been an influx of people from many different countries, altering the demographics even further. Here are some new realities that we need to be aware of.
- Older people are growing in number and living longer
- Older adults are living longer with lower rates of disability and poverty
- Among older adults, there is an increasing rate of ethnic and racial diversity
- 70% of older adults will provide support for their children
- 40% of older adults will support both their children and their parents
- By 2015, unmarried boomers will account for 40% of all households
- Households headed by 75-plus single women will increase from 6 million to 13 million by 2050
- The fastest growing population in the U.S. is the 100-plus population
- The second fastest growing population is the 85-plus group
These realities may strike home for many baby boomers. The first wave of boomers reaching age 65 is occurring right now in January 2011. This wave will continue for many years to come. However, many boomers are not well prepared for retirement and some of the caregiving roles that will be facing them. Many have not been living a well-balanced lifestyle and are suffering from numerous chronic ailments, emotional and financial problems. “The new longevity is not just about living longer, it’s also about living better and maintaining a balanced, vital lifestyle.” The time to begin is NOW, regardless of your current age or current lifestyle. When we are in our 20’s and 30’s, many of us believe that illness and aging will just not happen to us. We will be the ones to prove that we are invulnerable. But of course, nobody is immune to the ravages of personal neglect and aging. What we eat, how we live our lives, the amount of stress, the amount of sleep and relaxation, the quality of our relationships, the state of our finances, and many other lifestyle factors affect us now and for the rest of our lives. Are YOU currently living the lifestyle that your body, mind and spirit will thrive on for decades to come?